Counties located near urban areas are most likely to see a second wave of COVID-19, a Nashville healthcare technology company says.
Rutherford County is listed as high-risk.
Decode Health is tracking the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Tennessee using its proprietary AI platform, said Dr. Chase Spurlock, the company’s founder and CEO.
Because of travel between large cities and surrounding areas for work and personal reasons such as shopping, the disease could re-emerge in large cities this summer or fall, possibly at an accelerated rate, Spurlock said, citing the company’s models.
In a separate study, published last week by Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Department of Health Policy, researchers showed an increase in hospitalizations.
Statewide, hospitalizations for COVID-19 rose 30 percent in the week of June 7-13, Vanderbilt said, largely in the Chattanooga and Memphis regions. That represents nearly 400 patients in the hospital concurrently.
Rutherford County’s positive/probable case count, reported daily by the state, has steadily increased. On June 1, it was 1,243. On June 15, halfway through the month, it was 1,775, behind only Shelby and Davidson counties. A total of 2,101 had recovered as of June 15, while 30 deaths were reported.
Decode uses data analytics and evaluates risk factors for the disease, Spurlock said. Factors include demographics, tobacco use, diet, access to health care, education, COVID-19 hospitalization rates and unemployment. Decode’s AI software generates predictive models based on publicly released daily statistics and proprietary social determinants of health data.
Counties such as Davidson and Rutherford need to continue to mitigate exposure and limit the spread, Spurlock said. That is especially true for people out in public, where they should continue to practice good hygiene and wear masks, he said.
Rutherford is Level 4, or high-risk. Nationally, these areas have larger black populations. In these areas, there is a high level of children on the free or reduced-price lunches at schools and a higher percentage of diseases like diabetes.
The company has seen a growth in cases among Latinos and Asians, said Julia Polk, co-founder and chief strategy officer.
Decode Health’s findings show that Tennessee is outperforming contiguous states in managing the spread of the disease.
“Predictive analytics is the key to tracking re-emergence and swiftly identifying trends that enable proactive patient engagement at the national, state and community levels,” Spurlock said. “If you know where things are headed, you can avoid that risk.”